Nevali Cori

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Location of Taurus Mountains in Turkey

Nevali Cori (Turkish: Nevali Çori) was an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates, in Şanlıurfa Province, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. The site is known for having some of the world's oldest known temples and monumental sculpture. Together with the earlier site of Göbekli Tepe, it has revolutionised scientific understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic period. The oldest domesticated Einkorn wheat was found there.[1]


The settlement was located about 490 m above sea level, in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, on both banks of the Kantara stream, a tributary of the Euphrates.


The site was examined from 1983 to 1991 in the context of rescue excavations during the erection of the Atatürk Dam below Samsat. Excavations were conducted by a team from the University of Heidelberg under the direction of Professor Harald Hauptmann. Together with numerous other archaeological sites in the vicinity, Nevalı Çori has since been inundated by the damming of the Euphrates.[2]


Nevalı Çori could be placed within the local relative chronology on the basis of its flint tools. The occurrence of narrow unretouched Byblos-type points places it on Oliver Aurenche's Phase 3, i.e. early to middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB). Some tools indicate continuity into Phase 4, which is similar in date to Late PPNB. An even finer chronological distinction within Phase 3 is permitted by the settlement's architecture; the house type with underfloor channels, typical of Nevalı Çori strata I-IV, also characterises the "Intermediate Layer" at Çayönü, while the differing plan of the single building in stratum V, House 1, is more clearly connected to the buildings of the "Cellular Plan Layer" at Çayönü.

Houses: The settlement had five architectural levels. The excavated architectural remains were of long rectangular houses containing two to three parallel flights of rooms, interpreted as mezzanines. These are adjacent to a similarly rectangular ante-structure, subdivided by wall projections, which should be seen as a residential space. This type of house is characterized by thick, multi-layered foundations made of large angular cobbles and boulders, the gaps filled with smaller stones so as to provide a relatively even surface to support the superstructure. These foundations are interrupted every 1-1.5m by underfloor channels, at right angles to the main axis of the houses, which were covered in stone slabs but open to the sides. They may have served the drainage, aeration or the cooling of the houses. 23 such structures were excavated, they are strikingly similar to structures from the so-called channeled subphase at Çayönü.

An area in the northwest part of the village appears to be of special importance. Here, a cult complex had been cut into the hillside. It had three subsequent architectural phases, the most recent belonging to Stratum III, the middle one to Stratum II and the oldest to Stratum I. The two more recent phases also possessed a terrazzo-style lime cement floor, which did not survive from the oldest phase. Parallels are known from Cayönü and Göbekli Tepe. Monolithic pillars similar to those at Göbekli Tepe were built into its dry stone walls, its interior contained two free-standing pillars of 3 m height. The excavator assumes light flat roofs. Similar structures are only known from Göbekli Tepe so far.

Soundings cut to examine the western side of the valley also revealed rectilinear architecture in 2-3 layers.

Sculpture and clay figurines: The local limestone was carved into numerous statues and smaller sculptures, including a more than life-sized bare human head with a snake or sikha-like tuft. There is also a statue of a bird. Some of the pillars also bore reliefs, including ones of human hands. The free-standing anthropomorphic figures of limestone excavated at Nevalı Çori belong to the earliest known life-size sculptures. Comparable material has been found at Göbekli Tepe.

Several hundred small clay figurines (about 5 cm high), most of them depicting humans, have been interpreted as votive offerings. They were fired at temperatures between 500-600 °C, which suggests the development of ceramic firing technology before the advent of pottery proper.

Bas relief:A bas relief on a fragment of a limestone bowl depicts two humans and one tortoise-like creature dancing. [3]

Burials: Some of the houses contained depositions of human skulls and incomplete skeletons.

Common date

In terms of absolute dates, four radiocarbon dates have been determined for Nevalı Çori. Three are from Stratum II and date it with some certainty to the second half of the 9th millennium BC, which coincides with early dates from Çayönü and with Mureybet IVA and thus supports the relative chronology above. The fourth dates to the 10th millennium BC, which, if correct, would indicate the presence of an extremely early phase of PPNB at Nevalı Çori.[4]

Jat History

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[5] writes.... Several discoveries confirm the view that the people known as "Bull people" in ancient Europe and as "Bull worshipper" in Mesopotamia were Rigvedic tribes who emigrated to those lands after the Dasarajna wars via north Pontus and Middle East. Among these are the discoveries of the remains of domesticated Zebu cattle of Indian origin, barley (yava from Yavayavati?) and wheat, the original cereals of Sapta Sindhu and staple food of Rig Vedic people, in the Belt Caves near Caspian Sea by Gordon Childe and Carlton S. Coon, dating 8160 B.C.; the discovery of a statue of Rig Vedic rishi and a temple, dating 7300 BC, at Nevali Cori in Anatolia (Asia Minor or Turkey) by Dr. Heuptmann; the discovery of agricultural implements in Western Germany, Sweden and Jutland, attributed to Suevis (Sivis) and Juts, dating 4th and 3rd millennium B.C., highlighted by Prof. Graham Clarke and the discovery of motifs of Indian bull in various forms, brought to surface by Bedrich Hrozny, Bridget and Raymond Allchin besides Pierbe Amiet etc. at various sites in Mesopotamia, dating 4th and 3rd millennium B.C. (details infra).

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[6] writes.... In view of the latest and the newest "Light on the most ancient East" given above we can only remark that Coon, Childe, Pallis etc. have put the cart before the horse. Fresh knowledge, in fact, refutes the conclusions of such archaeologists. As already noted, wheat, according to Vanilov, a Russian scholar, is an original crop of Punjab, and we have shown that it is commonly associated with Rig Vedic Asuras (Dasas or Dahae, Anus or Anaus or Anavas). Vanilov holds that Punjab was the original home of the Aryans, and that the Iranians, Greeks, Romans. Germans and the English are their descendents[7]. He also holds that wheat originated in the Punjab. These two facts, if admitted, knock the bottom out of any contention that Aryans came to India from Southern Russia. Vanilov's premises lead to the inevitable conclusion that cultivation of wheat and introduction of the domesticated Indian animals in the Caspian region were contributed by the Indo-Aryan migrants who, as we have already shown, migrated to southern Russian steppes much earlier than 8000 B.C. from Panjab,

The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations:End of page 243

Kashmir and Ladakh. Moreover, Vanilov's laudable concession to the claim of A.C. Das and R. Kumud Mookerji, to whom Panjab is the ur-heimat of the Aryans, unequivocally confirms our stand.

Our claim is further substantiated by unimpeachable evidence from another two latest archaeological sources. A controversy57 that racked the brain of scholars like Brandenstein, Gimbutas, Sauer, Issac and Ho as to where the centres of domestication of especially pigs and zebu cattle took place first, was silenced by Issae[8], who, on the strength of the oldest archaeological evidence belonging to 7th millennium B.C. from the Near East, namely, Cayonu in Anatolia, asserts that domestication of pigs originated from Anatolia and the zebu cattle from India at a remote date. As mentioned elsewhere the custom of milk-drinking was introduced by Nordic-Getaei in western countries probably as far back as 8000 B.C. This strengthens Issac's claim. Similarly, the evidence of Nevali Cori (Turkey) is still more revealing and strongly vindicates our stand. Dr. B.G.Sidharth[9] informs us on the authority a highly developed civilization at Nevali Cori dating back to to 8th mil1ennium B.C. i.e. 7300 B.C.), that the discovery and study of a temple and a limestone head of a Vedic priest, complete with a clean shaven head and the Characteristic tuft of hair and pigtail, obviously proves that either the Rig-Vedic seers were the elite Anatolian class or had contact with them. This evidence affords a solid ground to Dr. Sidharth to fix 7300 B.C. as the date of Rig-Veda.

Curiosity inspired Dr. Siddharth to visit personally the recently excavated site of Nevali Cori near Ataturk Dam in Turkey. According to him, "The oldest known civilization of Nevali Cori has close similarities With the Rig Vedic civilization. Its cleverly Planned massive structures almost compete in magnificence with the structures of the Assyrians who lived thousands of years later. These structures, including huge carved pillars, sculpted figures, circular walls built with stone bricks, a huge hall (probably a temple) and smaller room-like structures with stone seats (which could be study or meeting chamber), had been erected on the ruins of the earlier structures. Its authors could well have belonged to the earliest Vedic civilization, or represented a civilization which shared an active influence with the Rigvedic civiliization. This claim is based on the fact that the excavated site had a

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definite Sanskritic influence which could be traced to 2000 B.C. ... Even new names of many of the towns in the region have a Sanskritic sound. The region today is the homeland of the Kurds who are of Indo-European origin. The Kurdish language contains many Sanskrit words and their old religion was Zoroastrian which was close to the Rig Vedic civilization. They were agriculturists. They had a type of dice game and used lamps at a time when others were primitive nomads. They followed the tradition of building a temple on the ruins of another, a practice in Nevali Cori, that exists in India even now" (The Statesman, New Delhi, July 16,1992, "Nevali Cori Excavations Reveal Rig Vedic Traits". p. 6, cols. 1-3)

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[10] writes... The Indo-Aryan had colonised Anatolia and established the Vedic culture there (Nevali Cori) in 7300 B.C After them the Getae (5000 B.C.), the Panis or Punis or Phoenicians (3500 B.C.) and others went to Europe via Middle East, Asia Minor or Anatolia . The Indo-Aryans tribes migrated to the western countries as far as Scandanavia. On their way out they had intermittent stay and settlements, temporary or permanent, in suitable climes and countries.


  1. Haldorsen, S. et al. "The climate of the Younger Dryas as a boundary for Einkorn domestication". Veget. Hist. Archaeobot (2011) 20: 305.
  2. The Archaeological Settlements of Turkey - TAY Project
  3. Oliver Dietrich; et al. (Aug 2012). "The role of cult and feasting in the emergence of Neolithic communities. New evidence from Göbekli Tepe, south-eastern Turkey" (PDF). Antiquity. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00047840. Figure 13.
  4. Early Places Without Metals
  5. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The migrations of the Jats to the North-Western countries, p.229
  6. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The migrations of the Jats to the North-Western countries, p.243-245
  7. The Tribune, dt. Dec. 2, 1983
  8. Ibid., Cf also Issac, Erich; 1970, Geography of Docmestication, Foundations of Cultural Series,. Englewood aiffs, NJ. Prentice-Hall, pp. 32, 65. Gimbutas, Marija; 1970, 'Proto-Indo-European Culture: The Kurgan Culture during 5th, 4th & 3rd Millennium B.C:, in Cardona, Hoenigswald & Senn, p. 157. Alchin, F.R.; 1969a, "Early Domestic Animals in Ind. & Pak:, pp 318f; & 1969b, "Early Cultivated Plants in Ind. & Pak. "pp 323-30; both in Ucko & Dimbleby. Ho Pingti,1975, The Cradle of the East, the Uni. of Chicago Press, pp 103, 109 ff. Sauer, Carl O; 1952, Agricultural Origins & Dispersals, The American Geog. Society, Series two, Bowman Memorial Lectures, New York; pp. 31,37. Renfrew, J.M.; 1969, 'The Archa. Evi for the Domes of Plants", in Ucko and Dimbleby, ppl 149-72.
  9. Dr.D.G. Sidharth, B.M. Birla Science Centre, Research Report, Aug., 1991, pp. 1-5. Cf. Ali Sami, Shiraz, Musavi Printing Office, Shiraz, 1958, p.12.
  10. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The migrations of the Jats to the North-Western countries,p.258